Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Potential drug target for treating cocaine abuse found

23.02.2005


A substance similar to a drug used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease blocks the stimulating effects of cocaine and could potentially be used to develop drug therapy for cocaine abuse, new research shows.

In an article published in the February 23, 2005, issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, Jonathan Katz and his colleagues at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) report the results of experiments showing that mice treated with a substance similar to the drug benztropine did not show any of the typical hyperactive behavior when later injected with cocaine. This effect wore off after a day.

Cocaine produces intense feelings of euphoria by increasing the amount of dopamine that is sent from one neuron to another within the brain reward system. Dopamine signals pleasure and reward by binding to receptors on the receiving neurons, after which it is reabsorbed for later use by a protein that transports it back into the sending neuron. But cocaine blocks the mechanism that transports dopamine, causing it to build up and send an unceasing message of pleasure – the cocaine high.



Researchers have long searched for "a molecule that would block cocaine’s effects on the transporter without inhibiting the transporter by itself," notes Eric Nestler, chair of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "This article reports early studies with just such a compound." Although the results are preliminary, this breakthrough shows that it may be possible to develop drugs that block cocaine’s stimulating effects, and perhaps its power to addict, Nestler says.

Researchers previously thought that different chemicals that prevent the reabsorption of dopamine would all have the same stimulating effect on the brain. The new study shows this may not be true. "In fact, the interaction between dopamine trans-porters and the substances that bind to them may depend on the chemical structure of those substances," says NIDA’s Amy Newman, who synthesized the compound. The researchers found that their novel drug made contact with transporters slowly – about 10 times slower than cocaine – which, they speculate, may be why it does not have a stimulating effect.

Between 2 million and 3.2 million people in the United States – about 1 percent of the population - use cocaine, according to estimates. Of this number, more than 550,000 are crack users. In 2002, 1.5 million Americans were thought to be dependent on or abusing cocaine. "Cocaine is capable of destroying not only the lives of those addicted, but also the lives of those around them," says Katz. "An effective treatment for cocaine addiction would be of immeasurable help to these individuals and their families."

Elissa Petruzzi | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sfn.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Spread of deadly eye cancer halted in cells and animals
13.11.2018 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

nachricht Breakthrough in understanding how deadly pneumococcus avoids immune defenses
13.11.2018 | University of Liverpool

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fish recognize their prey by electric colors

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Ultrasound Connects

13.11.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>